Pregnancy can bring lots of changes to your skin. Thankfully most of them disappear after delivery, but often we are left with unwanted loose skin and stretch marks of varying degrees.
As emotionally frustrating as this may be, there are ways to help improve both the texture and appearance of your post-pregnancy belly.
We share them below.
You’ve endured nine long months for your precious bundle of joy to arrive and while it is worth every sleepless night ahead of you, you find yourself wondering if your body will ever be the same again.
The result of your baby growing inside you is that your skin has stretched and you now have loose skin and stretch marks that you didn’t have before. The degree to which your body has changed is partly due to genetics, your age, your skin elasticity, how quickly and how much weight you’ve gained and possibly a little bit of luck (or misfortune – depending on how you look at it).
While many mums choose to wear their scars “tiger stripes” and loose skin as a badge of honour (we applaud each and every one of these body confident mums) we understand that not everyone is ready to embrace their new postpartum body with such enthusiasm.
Postpartum stretch marks
These all too familiar stretch marks are formed when your skin gets stretched or in the case of pregnancy when your body grows rapidly and expands and your skin is pulled tightly over it.
They are the result of your middle layer of skin or the underlying tissue tearing from being stretched so tightly. These tears become visible on the surface of your skin.
Most often, pregnancy stretch marks begin in the third trimester, when the baby’s growth really spikes.
More pronounced and reddish/blue during pregnancy over time they often fade to a faint silvery/white colour.
Loose skin after pregnancy
Don’t be fooled by the glossy magazine photos – loose postpartum stomach skin happens to almost all new moms (including celebrities), it’s just a question of to what degree.
For some mums, loose skin can stick around no matter how fit they were pre-pregnancy or whether they have jumped back into exercise quickly after having a child.
Actually losing postpartum weight too quickly can also increase the odds of having excess skin.
The skin is made of elastin and collagen, allowing the skin to expand with a growing belly. If a woman gradually loses weight after her pregnancy her skin has more time to recover and regain elasticity. If she loses it rapidly, the skin has much less time to recover.
You can lower your odds of having excess loose skin by losing postpartum weight slowly, exercising, and drinking plenty of water.
How to reduce post-pregnancy stretch marks
Keep well hydrated
We probably don’t even have to remind you of this but it is essential that you keep yourself well hydrated. Water helps to hydrate the skin and make it more elastic which means your skin is better able to recover from pregnancy stretch marks.
It allows the body to work more efficiently in terms of burning fat which leads to weight loss
Light exercise, such as walking and yoga, can strengthen the muscles of your hips, thighs, and belly and is a great way to bond with your baby.
Building muscle tone may have a positive effect on loose and stretch-marked skin and promotes faster healing.
Exfoliate once a week
Help your skin repair and rejuvenate itself by exfoliating your stretch-marked skin once per week. Exfoliating helps remove the top layer of dead skin cells and promotes growth and healing in the deeper layers of skin where stretch marks form.
Follow a healthy eating plan
Eating a healthy diet is a crucial component of your overall well-being. This includes repairing any stretch marks caused during pregnancy!
Eating healthy proteins and fats can help you build muscle. Protein can also contain collagen which is great for skin repair.
Increase collagen intake
Collagen can be found naturally in foods and also as a supplement. Besides keeping your skin healthy and glowing, collagen improves skin elasticity, skin moisture, water loss (dryness), firmness and skin roughness.
Look out for our all new Slender You Collagen For Her Dropping Soon!
Relax and be patient
When we are stressed our hormones can interfere with our skin’s natural healing process and slow the healing process of stretch marks. And we don’t want that!
So make sure you carve out some time each day to relax and unwind. Whether it be listening to your favourite music, reading a book, doing a yoga class or simply sitting in silence for a few minutes. Do what makes you happy as it will aid in your body’s healing process.
Don’t expect your stretch marks to disappear overnight. Your skin gradually repairs the tears caused by pregnancy and over time the marks will begin to fade.
None of the above suggestions are miracle cures but by following them you give yourself a better chance of healing both physically and mentally. And a healthy mum is a happy mum.